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Luger's Death at Olympics Leads to 'Deplorable' Copyright Claims by IOC


The Tactical IP Blog observes in this post that the tragic death of 21-year-old Georgian luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili, in a crash that occurred on the opening day of the 2010 Winter Olympics has oddly spawned an intellectual property issue.

Jason Fischer writes that, following the crash, the International Olympic Committee took numerous actions including modifying the luge track and conducting an investigation. It also decided to try to shut down the video clips of Kumaritashvili's crash that were spreading quickly on the Internet by asserting that people were violating the IOC's copyright in that clip. Fischer says the IOC has invoked the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in an effort to have this video removed from the Web.

Fischer notes, however, that:

U.S. copyright law was not implemented to choke off the flow of facts and news reporting. In fact, § 107 of the Copyright Act specifically limits a copyright owner’s rights in these kinds of situations. The IOC cannot use DMCA takedown notices to silence the speech it does not like. In fact, sending those notices may end up costing the IOC, unless they can successfully make the case that they considered whether use of the clips could be fair use before making their demands.

Fischer explains that while it may not have been the IOC's intention, its demand letters are "deplorable" stating, as a legal matter, that “you have to pay if you want to show our Faces of Death video.”

Posted by Bruce Carton on February 18, 2010 at 02:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)


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